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Minneapolis undercuts the idea that economic prosperity leads to racial equality

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But the prosperity fueled by the region’s Fortune 500 companies and progressive policies has not translated into economic equality. Instead, the wealth gap between Minneapolis’s largely white population and the city’s black residents has deepened, producing some of the nation’s widest racial disparities in income, employment and homeownership.

Such disappointments offer cautionary notes for those promising change in Minneapolis and other areas of the country in the aftermath of protests against police brutality and systemic racism — and raise questions about how far the movement to shift funding from police departments to other services can go toward delivering racial justice.

The shortcomings have given rise to an urgent debate about where Minneapolis went wrong and what measures would bring better results. Economists, lawyers and civil rights advocates in the Twin Cities say progressive tax policies could not make up for other aspects of structural racism, such as access to credit or jobs. Some say investments in affordable housing in low-income neighborhoods deepened segregation and poverty. Others argue for better enforcement of federal laws to combat discrimination in lending, employment and housing.

“Minneapolis seems to have been blindsided by these realities. They relish the fact that they are seen as this bastion of progressivism,” said Marvin Owens Jr., senior director of economic programs at the NAACP, which released a report in December highlighting the Twin Cities’ growing racial economic disparities. “The warning was if we don’t address these issues, this was a tinder box that would explode.”

The typical black family in the Twin Cities earned $39,851 in 2017, lower than the median income for African Americans nationally and less than half as much as the typical white family income of $82,371, which is much higher than white households nationally, according to the NAACP report. A quarter of black households lived in poverty, five times the poverty rate for white households.

Those enduring disparities, which erupted onto the national stage after George Floyd was killed in the custody of Minneapolis police last month, highlight the flawed premise, touted by President Trump and other Republicans, that economic prosperity is a remedy for racial inequality.

Having the “strongest economy in the world” is “the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community,” Trump said amid protests after a video emerged of an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.

But the outcome for black residents in Minneapolis and St. Paul also undercuts the liberal argument that spending on progressive policies can create systemic change.

Civil rights and community leaders in the Twin Cities say racial equity cannot be achieved without gaining a greater understanding of how the country’s racist foundations continue to affect the criminal justice, education and health systems. Too often, they say, progressive programs focus on “fixing” something perceived to be wrong with the black community rather than fundamentally reshaping underlying inequities in society.

“In order for Minneapolis and the region to actually change the trajectory for people of color, whites are going to have to be uncomfortable,” said Gary Cunningham, chief executive of Prosperity Now, a national nonprofit focused on racial wealth equity. “They are going to have to have conversations about how their privilege maintains the status quo and how resources and wealth are distributed in their communities.”

Cunningham, who grew up in Minneapolis and served as the city’s associate schools superintendent and deputy civil rights director, said that for too long, there has been a “huge disconnect between the progressive policies that are put in place and the outcomes that they get.”

“Good intentions don’t change the conditions for young boys and girls growing up in north Minneapolis,” he said.

Black residents, who account for less than a fifth of the Twin Cities’ population, are worse off today by some measures than they were 20 and 30 years ago, even as the fortunes of their white counterparts held steady or improved, according to census data.

Nationally, the economic gulf between black and white Americans has changed little since a federal commission in 1968 identified “white racism” leading to “pervasive discrimination in employment, education and housing” as the cause of uprisings in African American communities.

Black residents in the Twin Cities are younger and more likely to be immigrants than white residents, but these differences still do not fully explain the racial economic disparities, according to a 2016 analysis by the Metropolitan Council, a regional government agency. Such disparities existed before the influx of immigrants from Somalia, Ethiopia and Liberia, leading the agency and other researchers to conclude that “systemic discrimination is part of the equation.”

Minnesota’s progressive reputation was cemented nearly five decades ago when a Time magazine cover featured then-Gov. Wendell Anderson on a fishing trip, with a headline touting “The Good Life.”

Anderson, a Democrat, had worked with the Republican-controlled legislature to pass laws known as the “Minnesota Miracle.” Among the key provisions: a redistributive tax policy introduced in 1971 that required wealthy communities in the Twin Cities region to share their commercial property tax revenue with the poorest areas. Income and sales tax revenue from rich suburbs across the state also was shared with less-affluent cities and rural communities to fund schools, police and housing.

The whole idea was we are going to invest in the future so everyone does better,” Cunningham said.

It would be the beginning of a suite of policies that over subsequent decades increased investments in housing, schools and small businesses in disadvantaged communities.

But the main beneficiaries of many of the policies were working-class whites, said Samuel L. Myers Jr., an economist at the University of Minnesota whose research on what he calls “the Minnesota paradox” focuses on the problem with race-neutral remedies to racial inequality.

In the 1970s, following civil unrest over systemic racism and a lawsuit on school segregation, the Twin Cities embarked on a new set of reforms, building subsidized housing for low-income families throughout its wealthier white communities, said Myron Orfield, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who leads the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity.

But political and philanthropic leaders abandoned the region’s well-known integration policies in the 1990s in favor of directing additional tax dollars to finance social services, housing and schools in low-income communities of color, he said.

“There’s nothing wrong with gigantic redistributive programs, but they don’t overcome the problems that segregation causes,” said Orfield, a former civil rights attorney. “The structures of people’s lives did not change — they didn’t have better jobs, they didn’t live in safer neighborhoods, they weren’t more likely to graduate from high school. If you allow segregation to get worse, inequality is going to get worse.”

Even more state aid poured into poor communities in 2013, when then-Gov. Mark Dayton raised taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans. The Democrat and Target fortune heir had campaigned to “Tax the Rich!” — saying everyone should pay their “fair share” to keep society “functional.” The income tax rate, already fairly high for top income earners compared with other states, increased from 7.85 percent to 9.85 percent for individuals making more than $150,000.

And yet today, the region lands near the bottom nationally when it comes to racial economic disparities, especially homeownership.

Despite a slew of programs to help first-time home buyers, only a quarter of black residents in the Twin Cities own their homes, compared with more than three-quarters of white residents — and much lower than the national black homeownership rate of 42 percent.

Orfield said one of the reasons the programs have not significantly boosted black homeownership is that they encourage prospective home buyers to invest in segregated, low-income neighborhoods where property values have depreciated over time.

Others say the state’s homeownership assistance programs failed to close the racial gap because many black families lack the financial assets to participate.

The average house in north Minneapolis goes on the market for about $250,000, whereas the average black resident qualifies for a home loan of about $180,000, according to Steven Belton, president and chief executive of the Urban League Twin Cities. Government assistance typically covers only half the gap, which leaves prospective home buyers having to rely on their personal network or net worth to make up the difference, he said.

“For white people, the homeownership program is working really well,” Belton said. “The policy doesn’t really address the problem: If we know the disparity is in black homeownership, the dollars should be targeted toward African Americans.”

Black leaders say programs targeting equity tend to focus on neighborhoods — not race.

“A state like ours is so hesitant to assign a race lens to our incentives that we too often defer to geography,” said Tawanna Black, founder and chief executive of the Center for Economic Inclusion. “Attaching Zip codes as qualifiers is not enough. Part of the challenge is this isn’t a region or state that has gone above and beyond to create policies to drive racially equitable results.”

In addition to investing in homeownership programs, Minnesota has created financial incentives for the construction of affordable housing that critics say end up exacerbating segregation. Each year, tens of millions in local and federal subsidies are directed toward poor black, Latino and Southeast Asian neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, Orfield said.

Affordable housing developments are more likely to be approved in poor, minority neighborhoods where they qualify for more government subsidies, enabling developers to turn bigger profits, Orfield said. “The city and big foundations put extra money on the table,” he said. “If you build in a white neighborhood, you have to go to 15, 20 public meetings to get the white neighbors not to have a stroke.”

On the flip side, Orfield’s research also shows that developers have taken advantage of public subsidies to rehabilitate historic structures in gentrifying Minneapolis neighborhoods and turn them into artists lofts with yoga studios, rooftop fire pits and skyline views — accommodations that draw overwhelmingly white tenants. These developments represent the highest end of “affordable housing” in the Twin Cities — too expensive for most low-income residents to afford with government housing vouchers, Orfield said.

Minneapolis drew national attention for its 2018 move to eliminate single-family zoning, billed as another progressive policy to remedy racial disparities. But Orfield said simply building duplexes and triplexes is unlikely to promote integration because the new construction may not be affordable. Some of the densest neighborhoods in the city are the whitest, he said.

Not everyone agrees that racial integration is the solution to inequality.

Myers, the University of Minnesota economist, said racial economic disparities are a direct result of government-sanctioned redlining and urban planning that limited or wiped out black wealth, and also a result discrimination in so many facets of American life, including employment and lending. Stricter enforcement of federal civil rights laws should be prioritized, including funding for such oversight, he said — and discrimination should be criminalized.

“The policies advanced by progressives in Minnesota have focused on credit repair, homeownership training and other factors that assume that the problem of racial disparities in homeownership are due to black deficiencies,” Myers said. “The liberal and progressive policies tend to work to help improve the capacities of minorities without changing the underlying structures that are in place that created the disparities to begin with.”

He said it’s hard for progressive Minnesotans to accept that ongoing discrimination is a cause of persistent racial disparities. “The main thing that explains the Minnesota paradox is the fact that, unlike Mississippi or Alabama, where there are overt racists, racism in Minnesota is never open or explicit.”

Now protesters across the country are pushing for another progressive policy — defunding the police, a step that’s gaining traction in Minneapolis and other cities.

Most members of Minneapolis’s Democratic-led city council were quick to signal that they intend to dismantle the city’s police department as other cities such as Los Angeles and New York announced cuts to the police budget so money could be redirected to black communities.

Some activists are skeptical that dismantling the Minneapolis police would channel funds into improving the economic prospects of black residents. After all, the Minnesota legislature failed to do so when the state saw a $1 billion revenue surplus in 2016, said the Urban League’s Belton.

The legislature appropriated $35 million to address racial inequities, but lawmakers decided that “equity included every community and their mother,” Belton said.

Every marginalized group got in line for the money, Belton said. The Urban League ended up splitting $4.2 million with four other nonprofit organizations, he said, a circumstance that yielded too little to make a significant difference.

“If you look at the numbers overall, there was zero impact,” Belton said. “We pat ourselves on the back for being progressive in a state that extols the virtues of diversity, equity and inclusion, but we have no reason to be self-congratulatory.

“Minnesota works for white people — at the expense of black people.”

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Home Depot, Inc. (The) (NYSE:HD), J P Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) – Key Markets To Watch As The Mortgage Boom Continues To Fade

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The last year has seen the most eye-popping spike in value in history. 

While the Covid 19 pandemic initially shut down economies across the globe, the Work from Home movement caused a mass exodus away from metropolitan areas where many large companies are headquartered.  Homebuyers have been laying siege on the housing market to the point where houses in the most desirable locations are selling for more than 50% above the asking price in some cases.

This current trend is all thanks to the Fed lowering interest rates last year in response to the pandemic to help bolster the economy. 

Lowering the interest rate allows banks to charge less interest on consumer mortgages.  When mortgages are cheaper, it may entice would-be home buyers to jump on opportunities, but it also gives current homeowners the ability to re-finance (re-fi) and pocket the cash to use elsewhere.  While this was the intended response, the side effects of cheap access to money led to an immense spike in demand for mortgages.

Regarding the demand for houses from new home buyers, there is a potential for the steam to run out of this drive because buyers are being priced out of opportunities. This is partly due to the massive supply and demand imbalance and partly due to raw materials for new houses such as lumber adding so much to the price of a new house, which eventually dissuades buyers away from the market.

The mortgage markets, however, are also running out of steam.  It can be inferred from the earnings call from Rocket Companies, Inc. (NYSE: RKT) that the mortgage market is experiencing a price war that, while temporary, is weighing on profits.  Mortgage companies are continually fighting to provide consumers with better rates, but this competition can only last for so long.

Whether you’re invested in the mortgage companies, real estate, or are simply an interested home buyer, here are some recommendations of markets to follow to find out if the steam does run out and a correction occurs in the housing market.

Mortgage Writers Rejoice

Mortgage companies like Rocket Companies, owner of Quicken Loans, North American Savings Bank (OTC: NASB), and Chase Bank (NYSE: JPM) saw massive profits during 2020 and early parts of 2021 as the demand for mortgages skyrocketed.  They expanded services, increased employee pay, and saw growth like they hadn’t seen since before the financial crisis in 2008. 

While banks generally learned their lesson the last time around, this time is different.  Back in 2008, the methods used by banks to get people to sign on the dotted lines were sometimes less than savory.  This led to a sharp rise in risky mortgages that eventually led to waves of defaults that the financial system wasn’t prepared to handle.

This time, the consumers have run at banks with their money and demanded mortgages.  On top of this, the mortgages being written are for individuals who meet lenders’ requirements.  According to this credit repair report, companies are more sophisticated now as well, and they are helping even more people get good rates and adding to the numbers flocking to mortgage companies.

However, the world is emerging from life during Covid, and the mortgage companies will be the ones to show the first signs of a cooling market.  It may have already started, as mentioned before during Rocket Companies, Inc.’s earnings call. 

The Luxuries of Home Improvement

Amazon will indeed rule the world if it can ever pose a threat to home improvement giants like Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW). 

While both companies certainly specialize in retail home improvement supply, the bulk of their business is from commercial sales in contractor supplies.  If you’ve ever tried to go to a Home Depot or Lowe’s on a Saturday morning, you’ve seen the lines of contractor trucks pulling through the bay to pick up cords of PVC, lumber, and other materials.  These items are not easy to ship. All the better for the continued legacy of both of these companies.

The consistent profits for Home Depot and Lowe’s over the last year have largely been fueled by both the new home market and the refinance market.  New homes depend on raw materials to build, and if the market for new homes begins to cool, Home Depot and Lowe’s will be the stocks to watch.  However, the new home sales market tends to lag behind existing home sales since new homes are often built by large development companies as inventory before they are sold to home buyers.

To a much larger degree, home improvement projects have seen massive growth due to homeowners refinancing their mortgages and using the savings to build upon home values.  This may represent the bulk of the correlation between home improvement stocks and the mortgage market.  While the home improvement market is expected to rise in the coming years, a fall in revenues could point to a cooling in refinance applications.

Summing Up

The mortgage market relies on bringing customers to the table to sign papers. 

However, there are only so many willing buyers, and most of them have been drawn out over the last year for a variety of reasons including the Work from Home movement, extra savings built up due to lockdowns, and historically low interest rates. 

While business has been good, the world emerging from the current crisis may signal a cooling in the housing market, though not to the extent of the 2008 financial crisis. Keeping track of mortgage writing and home improvement companies may provide an idea of where the sentiment lies and allow investors to prepare for changing markets in the near future.

Photo Via Unsplash

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Way to Realizing Fiscal Freedom With Fix It Financial

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The overwhelming rise in employment levels has resulted in a significant alteration in lifestyle choices made by the working class. People are leaving their sustenance zone and are aiming to satisfy themselves with various services available. But to make the situation conducive, we need easy access to funds and investments which can help people realize their dream lifestyle, or even help small businesses to work on the expansion of their company. The market is filled with people who claim to provide a fruitful result, but their services are often fraudulent and inconsequential.

Also Read | Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan Says Innovative Measures Needed To Correct State’s Finances

Fix it financial is a credit repair company that helps people improve their financial standing by implementing various tools. The objective remains, building credit score by removing all the unwanted negative items from the 3 major Credit bureaus by disputing negative items in public information. Unlike the traditional methods to tackle the problem, Fix it financial, present a new approach to people’s falling credibility and targets the core issues to secure them back.

An outline of the credit score of multiple selves demonstrated a startling truth about the declining credit scores of people. The circumstances are bothering as it generates an enormous discrepancy between people in terms of loan accessibility. Keeping the same in their mind, Fix it financial ensures total transparency, and authentic results. They believe customer satisfaction should be the top priority of the firm, and hence they have strived hard to maintain their quality service without charging monthly fees.

Also Read | Excelling Beyond Boundaries To Help People With Specialized Financial and Investment Advice Is Stephen Rodrigues

Fix it financial was born when the promoter themself realized their steeping credit score. In order to improve it, they tried numerous methods which proved to be worthless. One must understand the whole concept so that they can decipher the trick to maneuver their desirable credit score. After discerning the same and trying out numerous methods, they were able to successfully change their credit score.

When asked about the values which make Fix it financial, a unique platform, they said, they try hard to create an ambiance of familiarity and peace., while treating each client and employee as a member of the family. Moreover, Fix it financial expresses their concerns over the people who are reluctant to invest but desire quick results. According to them, one cannot make profits if they are unwilling to put something into the business during the initial period.

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DBusiness Daily Update: DTE Energy Buys Isabella Wind Farms in Mid-Michigan, Small Business Group Urges End to Federal Unemployment Supplement, and More

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map of coronavirus cases in Michigan by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of May 11

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

DTE Energy Buys Isabella Wind Projects in Mid-Michigan
DTE Energy, Michigan’s leading producer of renewable energy, has purchased the Isabella Wind I and II projects in Isabella County, west of Midland, from Apex Clean Energy in Virginia.

The wind farms, totaling 383 MW, are the largest clean energy facilities in the state and in DTE’s portfolio. Apex developed and managed construction of the wind farms, which DTE now will operate.

“With stakeholders at every level — from localities and utilities to power buyers and the statehouse — helping drive the transition to clean energy in the Great Lakes State, Apex and DTE brought to life the largest wind projects in the history of Michigan,” says Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex Clean Energy. “Alongside partners like DTE, we will continue to pioneer the new energy economy, both in Michigan and beyond.”

The Isabella Wind projects will serve commercial and industrial customers — including Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., and the University of Michigan — which have enrolled in MIGreenPower, DTE’s voluntary renewable energy program.

The Isabella Wind facilities will generate approximately $30 million in tax revenue for the local community, $100 million in landowner payments over the lifetime of the project, more than 350 jobs during construction, up to 20 long-term operations and maintenance positions, and enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 86,000 average U.S. homes.

Small Business Group Urges End to Federal Unemployment Supplement
The National Federation of Independent Business has urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to follow the lead of other states and end participation in the federal supplemental unemployment benefit program that provides an additional $300 a week in benefits through Sept. 4.

The organization referenced its new jobs report that shows a record 44 percent of small business owners report having job openings they could not fill, 22 points higher than the 48-year historical average, and two points higher than the 42 percent figure from March.

April is the third consecutive month with a record-high reading of unfilled job openings among small businesses. NFIB suggested that Michigan’s numbers are probably worse given the longer period of shutdowns and restrictions than the rest of the country.

“It is time to reconsider Michigan’s participation in the federally funded temporary pandemic UI programs that have been extended under the American Rescue Plan Act, and replace them with return to work incentives,” says Charlie Owens state director of NFIB. “Montana, South Carolina, North Dakota, and Iowa have already announced plans to move in that direction as hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country, and in Michigan, go begging for workers.”

Owens says small business owners shared their frustrations in trying to hire workers at a recent House Government Operations Committee Hearing and that a shift to incentives, such as the Return to Work Grants proposal included in the appropriations bill HB 4420 would help employers fill vacant job positions and wean people off of reliance on unemployment benefits.

“The return-to-work incentive would provide grants of $1,000 to workers who leave the unemployment system and return to work,” says Owens. The proposal was included in a supplemental appropriations bill, HB 4420. Workers would have to certify that they’ve been employed for at least 80 hours over a four-week period to qualify. The proposal would be funded with $400 million in federal stimulus money.

Owens points out that, according to the Department of Labor guidelines, states are free to terminate their entire agreement for the extended federal pandemic unemployment programs, or only specific provisions of the agreement, with 30 days’ written notice if it chooses to no longer administer the programs.

“It’s time to get Michigan back to work,” says Owens.

Detroit Pistons Partner with Martin Lawrence for New Merchandise
The Detroit Pistons and actor Martin Lawrence have launched a Martin-themed line of Pistons merchandise.

Nearly 30 years after the “Martin” show premiered with the city of Detroit as the backdrop, Lawrence and the Pistons have reunited for this limited-edition collaboration showcasing Lawrence’s love for the city in which the TV hit took place. The line will be available this May 14 exclusively on Pistons313shop.com.

Items include jerseys, hats, shorts, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and more. From the “Martin” intro text to widely quoted lines and scenes from the show, this merchandise collection blends together the look and feel of the “Martin” show with Detroit Pistons basketball.

“Detroit has always shown me so much love and always shows up for me,” says Lawrence. “From stand-up tours to fans on the street Detroit has felt like home. It’s an honor to be part of something that means so much to me to this many years later.”

Mike Zavodsky, chief business officer for team, says, “With the city of Detroit as the show’s backdrop, ‘Martin’ became must-watch TV in the ‘90s. Martin’s love for the Pistons in the show translated into passion for the team — the fact that he has a ring from the 2004 team is proof of that. We’re thrilled to partner with Martin to introduce a merchandise line that pays homage to both Martin and the show’s Detroit roots.”

AAM Named as Axle Supplier for Additional GM Pickup Production
American Axle & Manufacturing in Detroit has been named the sole supplier of front and rear pickup axles for production at General Motors Co’s Oshawa, Canada assembly facility. Oshawa will restart production of the pickup trucks later this year.

This new business is in addition to AAM’s current supply of front and rear axles to GM’s full-size pickup assembly facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Mexico.

“This additional sourcing continues to leverage AAM’s strategic partnership with GM having supported their full-size light truck program with durable, efficient, and lightweight drivelines for many decades,” says David C. Dauch, chairman and CEO of AAM. “This is a critical part of our business and integral to our two-pronged approach to support both internal combustion and battery electric/hybrid vehicles with the industry’s leading driveline technology.”

State Launches $2M Modular Housing Program to Create Affordable Builds
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority has launched a $2 million MSHDA MOD program following the success of a 2019 modular home construction pilot project.

The program is designed to help Michigan communities attract and retain new businesses, talent, and homebuyers by creating affordable new construction housing using modular build/modified technology homes.

Through this program, MSHDA is awarding up to $200,000 per recipient to aid in the construction, marketing, and sale of a modular home that can serve as a catalyst to encourage new construction of affordable homes within the community. The activities financed include model delivery, taxes, site preparation, on-site finishing, and related construction costs.

By leveraging modular housing builds, the program offers communities a practical workforce housing solution by reducing the timeline for typical single-family home construction allowing housing to be made available for immediate occupancy.

“Aligning with MSHDA’s ongoing mission to ensure quality affordable housing is available to all Michigan residents, we are very excited to launch our organization’s latest MOD program- positioned to help expedite single-family housing development,” says Tonya Young, neighborhood enhancement team manager at MSHDA. “The program uses alternative strategies to help meet workforce housing demands statewide and attract homebuyers to Michigan communities.”

MSHDA MOD program funding is available for use towards single-family modular construction opportunities, single-family modified technology/techniques, and small-scale multi-unit modular construction options.

Funding submissions for the program are limited to eligible nonprofit agencies (501c3), local units of government, and limited dividend housing associations in areas that are primarily residential and low to moderate income.

Electronic submissions will be accepted through June 1. For more information, visit here.

GreenPath Financial Wellness Launches Interactive Learning Lab Resource
GreenPath Financial Wellness, a Farmington Hills nonprofit that provides financial counseling and education, recently launched the GreenPath Learning Lab, a free, self-paced online learning portal designed to improve an individual’s overall financial health.

This resource can be found here.

The Learning Lab resource provides people with a range of educational experiences to help them manage money more effectively. Using a simple log-on to access, individuals can engage in hands-on “choose your own adventure”-style learning activities on spending and budgeting, forbearance, and other financial topics.

Accessible at any time, the Learning Lab can help reduce anxiety associated with seeking financial help. The educational tool allows users to connect directly with a GreenPath expert for one-on-one personal assistance. Applied learnings can be used to help individuals build financial healthy habits over time.

New York Firm Acquires Bloomfield Hills’ Mackinac Partners

Accordion, a New York private equity-focused financial consulting and technology firm, today announced that it has acquired Bloomfield Hills’ Mackinac Partners, a financial advisory, restructuring, and operational turnaround firm.

The Mackinac acquisition will enable Accordion to provide current and potential clients stabilization and turnaround services critical to navigating economic uncertainty and industry disruption. It also expands Accordion’s reach beyond its current portfolio of more than 200 fund sponsors and their portfolio companies, into the broader private capital marketplace.

“We believe the need for experienced turnaround, restructuring, and interim management expertise is no longer as cyclical as it’s been in the past,” says Nick Leopard, founder and CEO of Accordion. “Value creation and value stabilization now go hand-in-hand during economic curves of every size and shape, and companies need to be well-positioned to respond to industry disruption and transformation.”

Mackinac’s expertise in managing complex financial restructurings, business turnarounds, and providing interim management services will enhance Accordion’s existing performance improvement practice and its additional service areas: operational and technical accounting, strategic financial planning and analysis, transaction execution, and public company readiness.

Jim Weissenborn, Mackinac’s founder, will remain its managing partner and serve as president of Accordion’s turnaround and restructuring practice.

“They say deals where everyone wins are a rare breed. This one seems the rarest,” Weissenborn says. “It’s a win for our clients and their management teams who now have expertise at their disposal beyond the red turnaround phase into the yellow and green of value creation and growth acceleration. It’s a win for Accordion’s clients who are experiencing a period of disruption in their growth trajectory. It’s a win for our team who is joining a company with a unique culture, focused on a better way to work in finance.”

Brembo Brakes Features on Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition
Plymouth Township premium brake supplier Brembo’s Flexira fixed aluminum brake calipers will be on the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition.

Brembo also supplies Flexira calipers for the battery powered Ford Mustang Mach-E. The new GT Performance Edition brake system will be distinguished by iconic Brembo red calipers with the Brembo logo.

The Flexira caliper is specially engineered to fit vehicles with smaller wheel profiles, such as compact cars and SUVs (particularly EVs) for improved rolling resistance. The caliper is designed for use in tight spaces while maintaining the high performance and functionality.

The brake system works in concert with the Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition’s MagneRide damping system contributing to excellent stopping power, reduced rolling resistance for increased range, and a comfortable driving experience.

“We are glad to collaborate with Ford Motor Co. on the next Mustang Mach-E model,” says Dan Sandberg, president and CEO of Brembo North America. “The all-aluminum red Brembo Flexira caliper will show nicely through the Mach-E’s impressive 20-inch machined-face aluminum wheels.”

Cannabis Retailer New Standard Announces Three Provisioning Centers in West Michigan
Cannabis retailer New Standard announces three provisioning centers on the west side of Michigan.

Park Place Provisionary, Edmore Provisionary, and Exit 9 Provisionary will be re-branding in the coming weeks as New Standard locations continuing the company’s growth in Michigan.

New Standard, co-founded by business leaders from across the state, opened its first cannabis provisioning center in April of 2020 in Hazel Park. Deemed an essential business, New Standard is one of few cannabis retailers to successfully launch during Michigan’s pandemic stay-at-home orders.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our New Standard family,” says Howard Luckoff, co-founder and CEO of New Standard. “These three locations, founded by Greg Maki, have wonderful longstanding reputations and have paved the way for cannabis in the state of Michigan. The faces you see in these stores will remain the same, our co-founders and New Standard teams look forward to meeting the communities and sharing the New Standard experience with them.

Maki and the current leadership team will be joining the New Standard family.”

For more information, visit here.

Olga’s Kitchen Looking to Hire 300 Employees for 25 Locations
Olga’s Kitchen is hiring 300 full- and part-time workers for open positions at its 25 locations across the state through May 30. Available roles include servers, cooks, supervisors, assistant managers, and general managers.

Interested individuals can text OLGA to 25000 or visit olgas.com to apply. Every Wednesday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. the brand also hosts open interviews at all locations. Employees hired this month will receive a $200 signing bonus.

Detroit City Distillery Unveils Limited-edition Summer Rum
Detroit City Distillery, an independent craft distiller of small-batch artisanal spirits, will bring back its limited-edition spirit Summer Rum, made in collaboration with some of Detroit’s best bartenders.

As the name suggests, Summer Rum is only available for the summer and will be available from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend at the distillery, local bars, and liquor stores.

Summer Rum is a blend of rums from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and is distilled from sugar cane. The nose is full of Jamaican aromatics with ripe banana, pineapple, and clove. The light rose gold body has a creamy mouthfeel full of Caribbean fruit notes like papaya, guava, mangos, and coconut. The finish offers hints of lime, toffee, and French Indie spice.

Summer Rum bottles are $25 at select liquor stores. Customers also can purchase at DCD’s Tasting Room or order online at detroitcitydistillery.com for in-person pick up. Summer Rum will be available at liquor stores and the Tasting Room starting the week of May 24.

A Summer Rum Street Party will take place at the Detroit City Distillery Tasting Room (2462 Riopelle St. in Eastern Market) on May 30 from noon to 9 p.m.

Detroit Historical Society Seeks Metro Detroiters’ Oral Histories
As part of its award-winning Detroit 67 Project, the Detroit Historical Society launched an oral history project to collect more than 500 firsthand accounts of the summer of 1967, the largest archive ever assembled on the topic. Now, the society has expanded its oral history efforts with two ongoing projects.

For Neighborhoods: Where Detroit Lives, the society seeks current and former Detroit residents, as well as business owners and employees, to record their experiences in different areas the city. As the city changes, these personal stories will ensure that the character of Detroit’s many enclaves is preserved. The project is supported by Michigan Humanities and PNC Bank.

For Detroit Responds: Stories from the Time of COVID-19, the society seeks metro Detroiters’ firsthand experiences with the current pandemic. Whether confronting social, economic, educational, or health challenges, everyone has a story from the past year.

Every story adds perspective and context to Detroit’s history and none are too small to contribute. For more information, visit here. Audio recordings or written stories can be sent through the website. Interested participants may also call 313-833-7912 or email [email protected] to schedule a one-on-one interview with an oral historian.

Historic Fort Wayne Now Open, Vintage Base Ball Playing May 16
Historic Fort Wayne at the foot of Livernois is now open for the 2021 season from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Secured parking is free. Guided tours of the Historic Fort Wayne complex are offered each day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. priced at $5 for adults and free for children under 12. The guided tours will include the Star Fort and barracks built in the 1840s, as well as the Spanish-American War Guard House. Due to limited capacity, advance reservations for weekend tours are required and can be booked here. Masks and social distancing are required for all guests.

The Fort’s regular hours continue each weekend now through Sunday, October 31. Parking and admission are free, except for selected special events.

The season’s special events include:

  • Vintage Base Ball, May 16 at 1 p.m. and Saturday, June 5 at 11 a.m.
  • Civil War Day, June 12-13
  • Colonial Days, June 19-20
  • Vintage Base Ball Day, Saturday, July 24
  • Le Rendez-vous de Detroit, July 31-Aug. 1
  • Sixth Annual Historic Fort Wayne Auto Show, Aug. 15

Canterbury Village Adds Weekend to Flower, Art, Home Improvement Show
The Michigan Flower, Art & Home Improvement Show at Canterbury Village in Lake Orion has added an additional weekend, May 15-16, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Guests are free to shop the area’s largest assortment of beautiful flowers and plants from local farms, learn gardening and landscaping tips, discover new home improvement and gardening products, new building trends, home décor concepts and ideas from hundreds of local professionals.

Also available are fine art and crafts, one-of-kind paintings by local artisans, hand-crafted ceramic pieces, woodwork, sculptures, stained glass artwork, jewelry, and more. Various food and drink options on the outdoor patio, along with live entertainment, activities and demonstrations, and exhibitors are on site as well.

Admission is free with a donation of four cans of non-perishable food items to be donated to a local food pantry. Parking is $5.

For more information, visit www.canterburyvillage.com.

MotorCities National Heritage Area Elects New Officers and Board Members
The MotorCities National Heritage Area Partnership has elected its slate of officers for the next year and added four new members to its board of directors, who each will serve a two-year term.

The new officers are:

  • Chair, Mark Heppner, president & CEO of Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores
  • Vice chair, Sandra Engle, of the UAW’s National Education Department
  • Immediate past chair, Robert Kreipke, historian emeritus of Ford Motor Co.
  • Secretary, Don Nicholson, president of Don Nicholson Enterprises
  • Treasurer, Nancy Thompson of Birmingham

The newly elected board members include:

Sabin Blake, manager of business planning and heritage for General Motors Co.

Carolyn Carter, chief development officer of Wayne County Community College District.

George Etheridge, city planner, historic planner, and policy analyst for the Detroit City Council and Detroit City Planning Commission.

Jay Follis, curator of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners near Kalamazoo.

JVS Human Services Offs Help to Metro Detroit Families Struggling Financially
JVS Human Services in Southfield if offering a financial education program called HarMoney, which provides $1,000 for approved low- to moderate-income local families to be used toward a down payment on a home or for credit repair.

A virtual informational meeting will take place May 24, when local families with a credit score of 620 and below can learn more about the financial assistance program that teaches participants about improving credit, savings, money management, and home ownership.

The program is underwritten by a $50,000 grant from TCF Bank and, when it began in November 2020, was originally only available to Oakland County families. Now, HarMoney has been expanded to include all qualified metro Detroiters and the new program, which has weekly sessions over 12 weeks, will begin on June 7. Upon completion of the program, a $1,000 one-time payment is available for participants to use towards collections, improving credit scores, or for down payment assistance on the purchase of a new home.

“The feedback we have received from participants in the first two programs has been phenomenal, from people who have struggled against many financial barriers to finally getting a grip on their money and improving their credit scores, and ultimately moving on to home ownership,” says Laltsha Cunningham, financial capability supervisor at JVS Human Services. “We have been told that the course is life-changing.”

To learn more about HarMoney or to register for the informational meeting on May 24, contact [email protected] or 248-223-4422.



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